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Mann Ramblings

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Mann Ramblings last won the day on August 9 2016

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About Mann Ramblings

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    A Real Mann has Tattoos

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    Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Interests
    Writing, Drawing, Painting, Making Pottery and designing more tattoos for myself. (It's very addicting.)

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  1. Mann Ramblings

    Chapter 32

    Arad is the consummate survivor. He refuses to give up, no matter what crappy hand he's been dealt. I like that about him.
  2. Mann Ramblings

    Chapter 32

    I don't really... but I heard the readers dig that sort of thing... so...
  3. Mann Ramblings

    Chapter 32

    Statistically speaking, it was bound to happen at some point.
  4. Mann Ramblings

    Chapter 32

    This was an example of when the story and characters take their own direction and you have to add something that wasn't planned originally. I think it was a good addition.
  5. Mann Ramblings

    Chapter 32

    When Arad woke up, he found himself in his bed instead of curled up on the floor where he’d drifted off holding Roku. The DemiShou was already gone, the absence a profound ache after the night before. Dressing quickly despite his newfound mood, Arad headed out hoping to find the wayward tiger. It didn’t take long. There were only so many hiding spaces on the Ansariland. Eating alone, Roku paused, food centimeters from his mouth when Arad entered the galley. “Couldn’t sleep?” Arad asked. Roku barely grunted in response. Arad gathered a meal for himself in spite of a lack of hunger. He sat across from Roku while they ate, without a moment of eye contact between them. Silence spoiled any flavor. Neither spoke of the nightmare or any other pleasantries. With Roku’s humiliation radiating like poisoned starlight, Arad had the distinct feeling conversation wasn’t wanted. The moment he finished, Roku stood, dumped his bowl on the counter, and headed for the hallway. “Going to the gym.” Arad sighed and pushed his own bowl away. He’d lost interest. The first night in the workhouse, Arad had terrible dreams. Lost in mist, abandoned, pleading to be taken back. He could be better. The grief the other boys gave him over his cries in the night isolated him even more than being the new arrival. Perhaps it was time to not repeat history. Back in his room, he collected his tablet and made a trip to Nixta’s old room, digging through the leftover treasure trove. It took a while to find the item, but once he did, he headed straight to the gym. Roku was dressing, fastening his kilt after clearly having just showered, his damp fur slightly matted from toweling off. The line patterns criss-crossing his back were fascinating, but Arad didn’t want to stare. Roku had been made uncomfortable enough. He started to backup, trying not to be noticed. “I know you’re there,” Roku mumbled. Heat flushed Arad cheeks. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to creep up on you.” Deliberately avoiding the mirror, Roku grabbed his blanket and set about covering himself. When he pulled the cloth over his head, sadness pinched Arad’s chest. “I have something for you.” Roku’s turned, his gaze tracking the second handheld computer in Arad’s outstretched hand. “This was Nixta’s. She was probably the least awful to me, but in truth, she just ignored me. This was her personal tablet. I already had Franc’s so I hadn’t gone hunting for it until now. Figured you need something to do while I’m do maintenance or research or babysitting the other Demis.” Gratitude shined in Roku’s eyes as he gradually stepped forward and reach for the tablet. When his fingers accidentally brushed Arad’s he jerked back and averted his eyes. The rejection stung, but Arad refused to show it. He placed the tablet on the sink within Roku’s reach. “You can have it. I don’t need it.” Rather than wait for a response, Arad turned and headed for the cargo bay. Shichi and Hachi looked healthy in their paused state, so Arad took his seat on the mattress and started searching for procedures for spacewalking. It would take him some time to figure out the details—assuming the Ansariland had the proper equipment—because even though he was a good mechanic, many unfamiliar systems and technical aspects of the ship required him to sidetrack which schematic he was studying. If he didn’t understand it, he needed to learn it. Even the horrible boys at the workhouse couldn’t hammer his sense of determination out of him. The reading would take some time, but he needed the distraction. He’d read the spacesuit protocols three times before Roku’s soft footsteps caught his attention. The big tiger taking a seat on the other end of the mattress caused Arad to gently rock. Roku’s graveled voice, although quiet, was a soothing balm. “Thank you. For the tablet. It was very kind of you.” “You’re welcome.” Arad wanted to say more, but decided to let Roku pace their interaction. The nightmare had unsettled him like so many things since waking, and it would probably be better to let him to talk if he needed it. Or revel in a lack of noise, or even more ideas. Turning on the tablet, Roku began searching through its directory. He opened and closed a few pieces of software until he left a graphics program active on the screen. Trying not to be obvious, Arad watched as Roku pulled the stylus from its holder along the tablet’s edge. The slender tool looked ridiculously fragile in his bulky hands, but it didn’t stop him from experimenting on the screen, making marks and lines of various thickness and then erasing them. For the few hours, Arad alternated between reading his tech articles and spying on Roku’s efforts. The little strokes quickly advanced into simple line art, and as he grew bolder, into clever drawings. Each random image became brighter and fuller as he tested the tablet’s capabilities. Roku’s blanket robe began slipping as he drew, less concerned with keeping covered as he became absorbed with his new projects. Standing up, Arad stretched a particularly sharp kink out of his neck. “You ready to get something to eat? Roku?” Startled, Roku’s head shook as he realized Arad wasn’t still sitting next to him. “What?” Arad almost laughed at Roku’s stunned expression. “Eat. We’ve been here for about four hours.” “We have?” “C’mon. I’m starved and I could really use a break.” Shutting down his handheld, Arad stepped towards the exit and looked over his shoulder. Roku sat, gaze darting between Arad and the tablet clutched in his possessive hands. A faint horror colored his face as if he was torn having to choose between them. A satisfied chuckle spilled out of Arad. “You can bring that with you.” With a snort and a smile, Roku stood and followed Arad to the galley with his new tablet in hand.
  6. Mann Ramblings

    Chapter 31

    I'm not sure that soft is the word you really mean here.
  7. Four episodes into Netflix's new #scifi anthology Love, Death & Robots. Brutal, funny, and clever. I wish I could do short stories so well.


    F'ing Brilliant.

  8. Killing time for the 11am showing of @CaptainMarvel today. I have to get there early to get my favorite seat or it ruins the whole experience.

  9. Mann Ramblings

    Chapter 31

    Since @Carlos Hazday just praised it, your curse has been canceled.
  10. Mann Ramblings

    Chapter 31

    A confrontation? I don't see how that could ever happen...
  11. Mann Ramblings

    Chapter 31

    I'm kinda attached to him too. I wish I could share the artwork that inspired Roku, but sadly it doesn't conform to GA community standards. (RIP, Tumblr)
  12. Mann Ramblings

    Chapter 31

    I know the 1k word limit frustrates some people, but it definitely helps me plan out the pacing. Some of these scenes might have ended up shorter without it. So until I can count on my muse to write larger installments on a regular basis, this will keep the weekly dose of Adrift coming along.
  13. Mann Ramblings

    Chapter 31

    I'm not sure life has been easy for either of them...
  14. Mann Ramblings

    Chapter 31

    Unspoken tension followed them throughout the day, even after heading to sleep. Roku had become silent and remote after the possible spacewalk to create repairs had been brought up. With barely a word, he’d taken his place again at the foot of Arad’s bed. As odd as the sleeping arrangements had become, Arad didn’t have it him to say no. Staying near yet so distant gnawed at Arad. He’d felt responsible for the DemiShou before Roku emerged. Now, he weighed the strange attachment between them, wondering how healthy it was for a bond to grow out of so little time. How could it be so heavy when stretched so thin? He focused on Roku’s breathing to ease his mind. For his size, the tiger did everything huge. Eat huge, sleep huge. Arad tried to forget what else on Roku was huge and what he could do with it when giving into his appetites. Better to concentrate on the rise and fall of fur lined bellows and let it drag him into slumber. Tomorrow would be a better day. Listening to the soothing rumble, he allowed his own to sync, but before he could drift off, the breathing changed. The rhythm faltered, turning into something grating. A sad moan built, punctuating each exhale into it grew into a pitiful, haunted keening. It tore at Arad with its pain, and drew him closer to the edge of the bed. “Roku? Can you hear me? Are you all right?” Carefully, Arad reached out and barely brushed his fingers against Roku’s shoulder. A chilling scream burst out of Roku, and he spun and scuttled backwards away from the bed so fast he slammed into the door with a thud. Dragging his powerful hands through his shallow fur, he shook in terror. Pulse quickening, Arad climbed out of bed desperate to help. Roku’s eyes flashed wide in the dark and he threw out an open hand. “No! Don’t touch me! I don’t want to hurt you!” Each word was choked and twined with a dangerous, warning growl. “It’s okay. You won’t hurt me. I know you won’t.” A heart wrenching yowl suffocated the room. Tremors wracked Roku’s body as he struggled to contain the sobs. Arad remembered his first day at the workhouse. Alone, surrounded by vagrant boys who hated the world and anyone in it. Boys who saw him as a target or rival for food. Don’t let them see you cry. Once you start, you’ll never stop. As Arad shifted closer, Roku’s hand crumpled into a weak fist and withdrew, maintaining the fleeting distance between them. “Please.” A tiny voice told Arad to step back, that he was trapped inside with a cornered, distraught beast. He kicked that tiny voice in the balls and told it to go sit and face the wall. He hadn’t abandoned Roku yet and wasn’t about to start now. “It’s okay. I trust you.” Climbing across Roku’s lap, Arad stilled his own fears and wrapped his arms around the tiger’s head. Still tangled in his blanket-robe, Roku raised his shaking arms but hesitated more than once to return the embrace. He inhaled hard and deep against Arad’s neck and shoulder, over the same spot those powerful jaws held Arad down the night he woke. Long minutes passed until Roku spoke in half-whimpers. “I think I was dead.” “What?” “There was a crowd. Everyone was screaming—outraged—and I was trying to calm them down. Keep the peace. But they wouldn’t listen. They didn’t care. There were too many and they were so angry.” “They were angry with you?” “With me. With each other. With everything.” “What happened?” “It turned into a riot. I tried to protect someone near me and they beat me down to the ground. I fought back, but I…I couldn’t stop them. They swarmed and trampled me. I couldn’t see their faces while they kicked and spit on me. It didn’t stop until someone picked up a gun. I think it was mine.” Dread filled Arad as he processed the details of Roku’s messy tale. “Why would you have a gun?” Arad shook his head into Arad’s shoulder without lifting it. “I…I’m not sure.” “Then what happened?” Arad closed his eyes and hugged Roku tighter against the shuddering inhale wracking the DemiShou. He’s seen enough riots on the streets of Grey District to know what came next. “They shot me.” Roku sucked in air over and over against Arad’s skin, trying to leash himself, teetering on the edge of hyperventilating. “Over and over. My arms. My chest. I could feel it chew up my insides. Then they stuck the muzzle in my face. I could see it coming as they pulled the trigger.” A single sob barked out and Roku curled his arms around Arad. “My god, they blew my brains out. I watched them kill me. I died.” “Shh…Roku. Shh…It was just a nightmare. You’re okay.” Arad’s stomach soured at the carnage’s description. He fought to stay strong as Roku’s tears tore free, wetting Arad’s neck and then his collar and chest as hot streaks found the path. He fought not to break down himself. “It was so real. My chest…I still feel it in my chest.” “Dreams aren’t real. It didn’t mean anything.” Arad squeezed harder, convinced he could force Roku’s shivering to stop if he could apply enough pressure. “Do you really think so?” The muffled plea stabbed at Arad. Roku kept his face buried as more agonizing mewls spilled out, emphasizing how he’d been modified for whatever reason. Fears for his own safety had melted away only to be filled with empathy. He understood how a past shaped a man for better or worse. “Y…yeah.” Arad swallowed down the sympathetic tear, afraid if he let it loose he’d undo any comfort he’d brought Roku. “You’re going to be okay. It was just a dream.” He kept repeating it until he almost convinced himself.
  15. Being sick is the worst. Two weeks and doing better, but it still lingers. Blech.


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